Esther Tela Free speaks

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Memories 

Some good, some bad. They come back at all times. Recently the bomb has been invading my thoughts. That’s right. Bomb. A homeade one yes, but one that blew up none the less. I was 17. Junior year. I think at least. It was warm and the fan was the window (in the memories of that time, the fan is ALWAYS in the window) and something woke me up and I looked out the window. By this time in my life I had been bullied inccessently by my classmates. I was petrified to go to school and even home wasn’t safe. Cars would drive by late at night and flash their brights in the window. I was a mess. I must have already had anxiety at that point because I was always worrying about everything. I digress. I heard something that made me look out the window and I saw two guys walking towards the house. I was able to see them put something right by the door and of course I was curious. Maybe someone was actually being nice to me? I always tried to be optimistic and I’m glad I have not lost that in the 4 decades I’ve been alive. I walked down the winding stairs towards the front door and suddenly there was a loud bang and my mom started yelling. We both went to the door and opened up and there was black soot and exploded pieces. I was horrified. I know my mother was too. This was back in 1991; pre-911. If this had happened now, the kids would be in trouble. See, my mom went to the school and told them what had happened. I had seen the guys who did it. I knew who it was. In fact, one of the guys had a class with me. My mom wanted something done. I’m sure you know what’s coming. The school did nothing and every day. Every. Damn. Day. I had to look at this guy who put a homeade bomb on my porch and be scared knowing that they could get away with anything they wanted. If they could put a bomb on my porch, what on earth would they do next? My horror and fear of people has to stem in part from this experience. 

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Memories | , , , | Leave a comment

Man it hurts

I’ll go into it more, but today has been the most painful day I’ve experienced since my father committed suicide. I cried for 20 minutes straight in the car. I know I’m not alone. I know there are a crapoload of you out there that care and are rooting for me to get through this. That doesn’t take away the pain though. I just keep reminding myself that this is temporary and with the bad, comes the good. I am really lookin forward to the good parts.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | anxiety, Memories, reality | 1 Comment

Another plug in the wrench was my insurance situation. If you’ve never been chronically ill, you may not understand the hoops we have to jump through in order to get care. The doctor I was seeing worked out of a certain health care system. That system did not give me options such as physical therapy, or seeing any sort of psychologist. Due to the lack of hospital beds the day I almost died, , the hospital transferred me to another hospital in a completely different health system. Because I wasn’t a member of this hospitals system, I had to find an equipment company that would rent me the equipment. Somehow, due to the diligence of my team at kp, I spent the last 15 or so minutes of my hospital stay with a rep from one of two in the city that I could use. The hubby and I were relieved to have me rolled out of the hospital with rather proper breathing machine for me to sleep healthily. I remember sitting in the passenger seat, at dusk, with the window rolled partway down, feeling the breeze on my face and watching the pinkish colored sunset sky to the left of me. We drove steadily up the highway and soon I was home.

I knew, after we got front row, reserved balcony seats for my new favorite band, that I would have to walk up a flight of stairs. The year previous, I had seen ghost at that same venue. It is one of the only hazy memories I have of 2015. I started walking up that flight of stairs and it was so hard and tiring that I was forced to sit between the two sets of stairs. 

Things were bad in 2016. I mean really bad. I was completely losing my marbles. You start to wonder whats going on. I’m not talking about crazy like thinking someone’s in your computer crazy though. I’m talking about how I couldn’t draw a clock. K would say, draw three o’clock and I couldn’t.

I now had a goal to help me recover from this experience. I had four months to get myself standing, and walking enough to park a few blocks away and stand in line, amped of course, up those two flights of stairs that would take me to my coveted seat for the best medicine there is. Live music.

The first few weeks home weren’t easy. My memory was fucked. I would get a phone call and forget what was said. This was frustrating to my poor hubby. He had nursed me from almost the entire time we’ve been together. I was able to some what nurse him when he suffered a diagnosis of congestive heart failure and a subsequent cardiac arrest a few months later but I had not been able to sustain that for very long.

The years I have had to use the wheelchair, prior to my hospitalization, are a mix of frustration and the desire to get my musical medicine without experiencing the major stress that comes with traveling and using a medical assistance device. Unfortunately, at a major music venue in the Pacific Northwest, I experienced one of the worst experiences at a live concert. And I’ve seen one band almost a hundred times and not just in one state. I got to the hotel in the city near the venue and made it to the campground in the rv we had rented. When we arrived at the campground the campground guy did not flag us into the handicapped camping section. He put us up into a top section on a decline and the paths were made of gravel. To someone in a wheelchair that is like saying we don’t give a shit that you are here. That was the first indication that this trip and concert just might not be the experience I was used to having. The day dawned bright, warm and cloudless and I looked forward to having a wonderful time and tried to have a positive attitude. As we got ready to head to the show is when I noticed the gravel and realized I would have to walk. In the condition I was in, that was a hard thing to do. And I was fighting the urge to just crawl up and die. I was already embarrassed enough to be using a wheelchair but I was also fighting a confidence issue as I had gained significant weight as a side affect from the steroids. I got down the hill and waited at the bus stop for the handicapped bus the venue provided which I am thankful for. I was loaded into the bus when it arrived and it was my very first time in a handicapped bus.

I would like to say that all of the other handicapped people that I have met in my concert travels have been wonderful human beings.

As the lift rose up, I rolled into what I thought was the area to be. Now my memory is fuzzy here, either he didn’t strap me in, or I said I was ok, I’m not sure. But what happened next, I won’t forget. The bus driver got into his seat. He pulled the break and the bus slowly rumbled to life and out the gravel road. At the stop sign, there was a small hill and as he stopped, my wheelchair violently rolled forward and smashed into either the seat or another wheelchair in front of me. I untangled myself and rolled back into my spot. As I did that I realized that my wheelchair had been damaged. Wheelchairs are expensive and mine hadn’t been covered winsurance and knowing I would have to order a new one, mine was a special light weight one,I would have to fork over the cash out of pocket too. I compartmentalised the issue and tried to look forward to three hours of music and bliss that came along with live music. We were drive to the back gate entrance and since I was very early and the only wheelchair, I figured I’d be ok, but what I didn’t know at the time, is at this time, they did not have a section for wheelchairs. I asked the security guard about this. He smiled widely, took ahold of my chair and wheeled me right out into the general admission area in front of the stage. The live concerts I usually go to, have rabid fans that wait hours so they can hang on the rail, right in front of the band. I knew this because I used to be just one of those persons. I spent many hours waiting in line at venues across the country. Madison Square Garden in NYC, The Mothership in Hampton, Va just to name two of my favorite experiences. When I was wheeled out to the GA section, there were already rows of fans claiming their spot for the show. I was a pretty meek person back then, and didn’t have the wheelchair experience yet to know I was not in a good spot to enjoy this concert. I had such a horrible time, and felt it was so wrong that they didn’t have a handicapped section at GA concerts that I contacted the state where the venue was located and put forth in motion a lawsuit. I wimped out about it, but I found out years later, when I returned again to give them another shot, they had a wheelchair section and I’ve since enjoyed a few shows there.

Before I got sick, my hubby, who is a music extraordinaire both in knowledge and in dj abilities would try to play different music for me, and I found myself stuck in a pattern with not just my health issues but also in my musical tastes. When I returned home, I found myself drawn to much heavier music than I had in a long time. I also found a new respect for many legends I had just sort of turned my snotty-at-the-time nose up at. Now, I was blown away by the intelligent and soulful lyrics of musicians from all around the globe. Germany, Sweden, and even some of my own fair city’s known bands….

April 7, 2017 Posted by | ankylosing spondylitis, anxiety, death, fibromyalgia, hubby, Memories, MOF, music, pain, phish, reality, sickness, The Gorge | Leave a comment


I spent 7 days in the hospital. 3 of them in the ICU. I had a tube down my throat and was given narcan to combat the opiate withdrawal I had to go through to put me on the road to recovery. As the fourth day came around. I was somewhat used to the early morning intrusions to both my skin and my sleep. Late morning rolled around and the physical therapist came by. She wanted me to walk down the hall. I was on oxygen thanks to the respiratory failure caused by what I guess is the liver failing to clean out the opiates on my system so  depressed my breathing. I expected to have no problem walking but as the woman pulled the portable oxygen tank around to my right side, I swung my legs around and slowly put weight on them. It was a shocking surprise to find myself very weak and scared at the same time. I stood up, wobbled a bit, and gathered myself to make that first walk. Before this hospital stay, I walked from my bed, to the chair, and to the bathroom and that’s it for the day. I couldn’t draw those clocks. I was fucked for the rest of my life I had thought. But getting clear if those opiates, I knew immediately that I had a second chance (or is this the second?). I walked about halfway down the hallway, turned around and walked as strongly as I could and when back at my room, I collapsed in the bed in relief. This was going to be hard.

The day passed and so did another one. Mentally I was recovering faster thaen physically. I had been misdiagnosed with an auto immune disease and treated with steroids, nsaids and opiate pain medications.

I woke up on that last day in the hospital knowing that it would be my last day. I had been on furosemide to help flush out my kidneys after they failed and was finally off of them. They are not a fun drug. They make you urinate numerous times an hour, but is necessary if certain organs aren’t working correctly. My last dose had been the day before and my last test would be to do the stairs. I’ll admit it now. I was scared to death to attempt them. I was not only weak from the 6 days in the hospital, which causes you to lose a large percentage of your muscles, but I was recovering from years of complete inactivity due to weight gain, depression and anxiety. Along with having to try and walk and climb stairs, I had to work out a plan to get durable medical equipment from a company somewhere in the city,

April 5, 2017 Posted by | anxiety, death, fibromyalgia, Memories, Misdiagnosis, MOF, pain, sickness | , , , | Leave a comment

March 18, 2017

That’s the day it all changed. That’s the day I awoke. I welcome you to the story of my life and what they did to me. I wasn’t completely innocent. For many many years I willingly took the opiates but on April 29, 2016 that changed.

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Take a trip down memory lane

Sitting at home alone, which is still something that is quite the novelty I find myself turning to youtube to revisit some memories as well as see new ones. Tonight it’s the Roseland show. I was so excited to experience New York City, and the Roseland show was a hard ticket to get. I went out of my way to make sure that I had something for the band, even though I didn’t know if they knew who I was or not. Eric worked for  Nab. at the time and I went and was able to get a huge bag full of special Oreo’s. I wanted to gift the person who had given me the +1 that I was to have that night. They had us in two lines. To the left were the fans. To the right were the VIP’s I guess you could say and because of who I was dating at the time I was to the right. We were first in line, which is where I usually liked to be back then and I was in tip top shape and ready to make that run from the door to the rail. Mike ended up getting the Oreos I heard. I hope he liked em. When the doors opened I remember glancing at the sign that said the capacity of the place. I had seen the band play in small venues but absoultely nothing the size that The Roseland was. They were taping it too for VH1 and still to this day I can’t believe I had the luck to be there in the front for it. I got to the front and was right in front of the redhead. The camera guy was walking up and down in the space between the rail and the stage. I was reminded tonight of what the camera man said to me. He said that I didn’t need to worry about being on TV because I wasn’t pretty enough. He said something about my weight too. I tried very hard to not let it bother me, and it did bother me for about 5 minutes. Then I gave the camera man some candy and proceeded to have one of the best nights of my life. I didn’t care whatanyone said. I was mere feet away and that was the best place to be. I can still feel it now, almost 17 years later, how wonderful this music makes me feel. I guess maybe one day I’ll accept the fact that maybe they knew me a bit too? Maybe?

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It begins…

I woke up feeling reborn. The world seemed bright and shiny, but I realized something was up when I saw the tv diagonally up on the wall and I was wearing the wonderful hospital gown. I remember Dr. L sitting next to the bed and smiling at me. She kept asking me how I felt and I just kept repeating reborn. My face felt like it was going to split from the wide grin. My husband was to my left and while the pain was there, it seemed muted somehow. The phlebotomy team would come early in the morning and I remember the one who seemed to take that little bit of extra time to share a small portion of the real them. I remember thinking how wonderful their energy was towards me. They might not know how much that means when shits just hit the fan and you don’t quite have your bearings yet. I had spent the past few years thinking my life was over. The pain had consumed every aspect of my life. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t watch a tv show or movie. I couldn’t leave the house . I was scared. I was confused. I had been taught that doctors are the ones you trust. They get paid the money that allows them to pretend to care, listen and small chat about their yearly vacation to Alaska. You have to fly a private plane. To get to where this guy would go. The pills were so many. The patches took precident too. There has to be another way I thought.

The discovery channel had the Alaska wilderness tv show on, or maybe it was the gold searching one. It was my touchstone. I needed to come back. He had died on me. He was falling apart. I wanted to come back for myself. I couldn’t take my pills that morning. He had to call 911. I don’t know if I fought the EMTs or not, but I must have because I had large purple bruises all over my arms and an ugly blister that the hubby thinks was from  a strap of some sort. I also had to learn how to sleep with a full face mask while sleeping in a hospital. If you’ve never slept in the hospital, count your lucky stars. The good ole Doctor g, I guess, didn’t know, or ask the right questions, or I didn’t tell him, or maybe we didn’t know what to look for, but I was experiencing what is called sleep apnea. Many people have it. I wasn’t aware of it. You stop breathing while sleeping. I had noticed that I wasn’t dreaming and I missed it terribly. I remember asking the hubby if something was wrong because I wasn’t dreaming. I also had the clock. The clock test, it kind of saved my life too. It stuck in my head that if you couldn’t draw a clock, that something’s wrong with you. I repeatedly would draw that damn thing. Small notepads had my attempts on many pages. I would later, after getting out, ask the hubby if he still had those notebooks. I remember asking and him saying no, I threw them out. That’s probably for the best, as moving on has been one of the best drugs there are.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Take it all

might as well..

one of my childhood memories, as i was just reminded, is that my mom took me to the dr at 8 to be told how to lose weight.

It sucked.

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MOF…

I went to my first concert as a young child. The first concert I chose to go had a boy band wearing matching shirts playing to an adoring crowd of prepubescent girls screaming their heads off. Months later I found myself at a heavy metal show that would be my foray into not pop music which would be my salvation. 20 years of following phish around had slowly eroded into the incapacitated state I found myself in when the organs began to shut down and my breathing became compromised.

I spent 7 days in the hospital. 3 of them in the ICU. I had a tube down my throat and was given narcan to combat the opiate withdrawal I had to go through to put me on the road to recovery. As the fourth day came around. I was somewhat used to the early morning intrusions to both my skin and my sleep. Late morning rolled around and the physical therapist came by. She wanted me to walk down the hall. I was on oxygen thanks to the respiratory failure caused by what I guess is the liver failing to clean out the opiates on my system so  depressed my breathing. I expected to have no problem walking but as the woman pulled the portable oxygen tank around to my right side, I swung my legs around and slowly put weight in them. It was a shocking surprise to find myself very weak and scared at the same time. I stood up, wobbled a bit, and gathered myself to make that first walk. Before this hospital stay, I walked from my bed, to the chair, and to the bathroom and that’s it for the day. I couldn’t draw those clocks. I was fucked for the rest of my life I had thought. But getting clear of those opiates, I knew immediately that I had a second chance. I walked about halfway down the hallway, turned around and walked as strongly as I could and when back at my room, I collapsed in the bed in relief. This was going to be hard.

The day passed and so did another one. Mentally I was recovering faster then physically. I had been misdiagnosed with an auto immune disease over a decade earlier and treated with steroids, nsaids and opiate pain medications.

I woke up on that last day in the hospital knowing that it would be my last day. I had been on furosemide to help flush out my kidneys after they failed and was finally off of them. They are not a fun drug. They make you urinate numerous times an hour, but is necessary if certain organs aren’t working correctly. My last dose had been the day before and my last test would be to do the stairs. I’ll admit it now. I was scared to death to attempt them. I was not only weak from the 6 days  in the hospital, which causes you to lose a large percentage of your muscles, but I was recovering from years of complete inactivity due to weight gain, depression and anxiety. Along with having to try and walk and climb stairs, I had to work out a plan to get durable mnedical equipment from a company somewhere in the city, My O2 stats were low and they were requiring me to have oxygen when going out of the house.

March 17, 2017 Posted by | anxiety, Memories, Misdiagnosis, MOF, music, reality | | Leave a comment

I’m elated..and im having the worst night of my life. Its always like that isnt it.

Much love to all of you out there…thank you..you know who you are

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment